Samuel "Red" Russotti

Samuel "Red" Russotti (born 1912- died June 25, 1993) was a powerful member of the Rochester crime family and its last reputed Godfather. The family is currently considered to be extinct, as many of its members have either been killed, imprisoned or retired.

Criminal Career

Russotti first rose to prominence when Frank Valenti founded the Rochester crime family and named Russotti as his Underboss, a title he held until Valenti was deposed as boss. Russotti, known as “Red” for his hair color – seized control of Rochester’s organized crime family in 1972. He was known for his sense of humor, once listing his employment as “huckster” in the Rochester Suburban Director. He once said he supported himself by gambling and borrowing from his mother.

He first went to jail in 1977 for the murder of mobster Vincent Massaro, but the conviction was later overturned because police admitted they fabricated evidence.

When Russotti, Rene Piccaretto and the other defendants were released from prison, they found a group of rivals had taken over the leadership. Thomas Didio, the man they had picked to run the mob in their absence, refused to relinquish power. Didio was then murdered on July 6, 1978 and his death touched off a bloody, bomb-filled two years that was dubbed the "Alphabet War". The warring factions became known as the A Team and the B Team by police and media. Another rogue crew emerged known as the C Team consisting mostly of non-made associates.

In 1984, Russotti and six others were convicted of murdering two of their rivals, as well as attempted murder and extorting millions from illegal gambling in the 1970s and 1980s. Angelo Amico was named Acting boss in Russotti absence with Loren Piccaretto, son of the imprisoned Consigliere being put in a leadership position also.

Russotti would have been eligible for parole in October 1994 but in 1993, at age 81, he died of a heart attack in a federal prison in Michigan, and has remained the last don of the Rochester crime family. Law enforcement feel it is highly unlikely that a La Cosa Nostra syndicate will ever return to their city.

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